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Our own gold-medal moment

Aug 9, 2012 - By Betty Starks Case

Parade crowd appreciated our seven-decade union

Last weekend was called "A golden weekend" for the American Olympians in London.

I'm sure the overseas reference was to the number of gold medals won by participants. But "golden" has many meanings.

Because husband Ned and I have added 20 years to our 50th wedding anniversary, we're calling our recent participation in the Fremont County Fair Parade a "Golden-plus weekend."

It all began when a Ranger editorial urged everyone to participate in the fair parade in any way they could.

"Ride your horse, carry a flag," the editorials read. "Drive your farm machinery or business vehicle. March with the cheerleaders, the pep club, the honor society or the drill team. Put on a costume from the past. Tie your attire to the fair theme, The Best Days of Summer.'"

The editorial urging finally made connection at our house.

"We could ride in the parade on your 4-wheeler," I suggested, half-joking, to my mate at breakfast.

You have to test his interest and enthusiasm gently when the idea carries a touch of the radical.

I added, "We might provide a few laughs."

He smiled. He's not too interested in being a clown. But my creative juices were beginning to surge.

"We could fly our own flag on the years spent together, be cheerleaders, a pep club and honor society for marriage. And, hey, isn't our July 16 wedding anniversary one of the best days of every summer?"

I had him on that one. He began to offer suggestions. (This is the "Let's get it done" guy, remember?)

"We'd need a sign," he advised. "Something to explain why two white-haired seniors are out there on an ATV in the parade. Do they even know where they are?"

The parade was scheduled for 6 o'clock that evening and all we had was half an idea. No registration. No plan.

My brother and sister-in-law came by.

"Why not use Mike's dune buggy?" they suggested. "It would be easy to decorate."

I shared our plan with Joe-next-door.

"Why not drive 'Rozy'?" he said. "Our little red mini-Cooper car?"

The plan was looking better by the minute. I phoned to register for a number in the parade. I found two big pieces of cardboard in the guest bedroom, Ned dashed to the store for marking pens, and we printed, erased, and printed again.

Two big signs came into being, one for each side of the car:

"JUST MARRIED -- 1942 -- 70-YEAR-HOOKUP."

In costume for the fair theme, the groom wore a white shirt, his bride in a bright-colored gown with a garland of pink flowers in her hair. With the generous assistance of Joe-next-door, we got the signs attached to Rozy and found our place in the parade.

Rozy's sun roof was down. The experience one in a lifetime for Entry No. 45.

From Riverton's hilltop to the Main Street connection with Federal (Hwy 789), parade-watchers stared at our signs, burst into laughter, applauded, waved, gave us "thumbs up," took pictures, and called out, "Congratulations!"

A woman holding a baby about 8 or 10 months old coaxed, "Wave! Wave!"

The chubby little arms and legs flew like a windmill powered by baby chuckles and squeals. He didn't understand the reason for applause, but his rang sweet to our ears.

Ned carefully guided Rozy down the long parade, ever mindful of the fact that she belonged to our dear neighbor Rose, and concerned that we keep the beautiful little red automobile from harm.

It was my privilege to wave and greet the countywide crowds, who assured us our marriage accomplishment was as special as we'd always believed it to be.

And right on theme: The Best Day of Summer -- with a 70 year hookup.

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